Fresh off of a stellar Rose Bowl in which he returned his second kickoff for a touchdown on the season, Aron Cruickshank surprisingly has decided to enter the transfer portal (first reported by Evan Flood of 247 Sports).
A lot is going on for me right now but yes it is true that I have entered my name in the transfer portal with 2years of eligibility and a redshirt, I will like to thank my coaches and most of all my teammates I hope you all the best. RESPECT MY DECISION !— ITzAC (@Ac_Hollywood_) January 8, 2020
A former three-star recruit out of New York, Cruickshank made an immediate impact as a freshman in a kickoff return role after enrolling early.
Does not mean he is 100% gone, but rather that he is looking around. Usually leads to a transfer though. Definitely did not see this one coming, even as he has struggled to crack the WR rotation. https://t.co/Sy96aynzZq— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) January 8, 2020
Cruickshank built on his first season in the program with improvement in the return game. He had two dynamic kickoff returns for touchdowns against Nebraska and Oregon in crucial moments, and finished the season with 29-yards per return.
Outside of his duties as a return man, he was also used as a wildcat quarterback at times this season. He ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on the season.
With a stacked wide receiving corp in front of him, Cruickshank was buried on the depth chart at times at his primary offensive position, which might have led to frustration. Wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore had noted at times during his career the immense talent he has, but that the finer nuances of the position are still being ironed out.
Sounded like WR coach Ted Gilmore expected Aron Cruickshank to be around in the spring. Said this at the Rose Bowl:— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) January 8, 2020
“We need AC to take the next step. He’s one of those that has to become more than just a situational guy.”
He’s now in the transfer portal, per @Evan_Flood
With his announcement to explore the portal, he has not ruled out the chance to come back to Wisconsin next season. Rather Cruickshank will look at his options, to determine his best move going forward. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, in most cases such as this the player decides to go elsewhere. With a redshirt season still available to him, Cruickshank will not lose a year of eligibility if he opts to transfer, but he would be required to sit out a full-year.
If he does eventually leave the program, Wisconsin will need to find a replacement for one of their best special teams weapons. Isaac Guerendo, Kendric Pryor, Faion Hicks, and Stephan Bracey are all players to keep an eye on as potential kickoff returners this spring without the speedster.
Wisconsin may now potentially have an extra 2020 scholarship to use as well given the news.